A History of Tobacco in ChinaPosted: January 14, 2014
Beijing news has a unique multi-page feature with rare illustrations, photos, and informative texts about the history of tobacco in China. The images load slowly (mileage may vary) but it’s worth every moment. Here’s a sample:
China’s anti-smoking movement was first recorded in 1639, when Ming Dynasty (AD 1368－1644) Emperor Chongzhen issued a national ban on tobacco and stipulated that tobacco addicts be executed. In 1637, Qing Dynasty (AD 1644–1911) Emperor Kangxi expanded the death penalty to those who possess tobacco.
Advertisements featuring fashionable courtesans, or sing-song girls of Shanghai around the 1920s testified that the imported habit was trendy in what was then one of Asia’s biggest cities.
Although civilians were banned from the puff of pleasure, China’s top leaders in the older generation took up the practice with gusto. Mao Zedong was often pictured with a cigarette in his hand, as in this 1957 shot of him meeting deputies from the Third National Congress of Chinese Communist Youth League, who appear to be vying to offer him a light.
Hop on the medium-speed China network cable, slip into you smoking jacket, order a cocktail, and check out tobacco history in China.
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